European shipping’s huge carbon footprint

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Dec 12, 2019

Author: Santosh


European shipping’s huge carbon footprint

Hard to believe but true, the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from European shipping are as high as the carbon footprint of a quarter of Europe’s passenger cars! The Transport and Environment (T&E) Report published on December 9 2019 also states that in Finland, France, Germany, Spain, Sweden and the UK shipping emissions in 2018 were higher than the emissions from all of the passenger cars registered in ten or more of the biggest cities in those six countries. And yet shipping emissions are not covered by the emissions’ reduction targets many countries committed to as part of the Paris Agreement in 2015.

“Shipping is currently the only sector not yet contributing to the EU’s emissions reduction targets and efforts”

Excerpt from T&E Report

Shipping line among EU’s Top 10 carbon emitters

Since 2015, shipping companies have been required by the EU to publish their emissions data for ships of more than 5,000 gross tonnage. The T&E Report took this data and worked out that one container shipping operator has joined Europe’s coal plants and Ryanair in the EU’s list of Top 10 carbon emitters. “Shipping is currently the only sector not yet contributing to the EU’s emissions reduction targets and efforts,” the report says.

“shipping actually has a much lower carbon footprint than any other mode of transport apart from freight trains”

IMO2020: Improvements on the horizon

But that will change in 2020. As of January 1, all commercial vessels will be required to use fuel with a sulfur content of 0.5% or less. As such fuel is expensive and not readily available. Ship owners or operators can also ensure compliance through LNG-powered vessels or the installation of scrubbers to clean emissions before they are released into the atmosphere. The cost of compliance will be considerable and shipping lines will be implementing surcharges to cover the extra costs. After all, they say, environmental protection is everyone’s concern.

Ocean Insights is currently working on an “Emissions Insights” service that will combine container tracking data with vessel master data.

Wait a minute …

The irony of the whole business is that, when measured in gram per person/ton kilometer, shipping actually has a much lower carbon footprint than any other mode of transport apart from freight trains. It is seven times lower than airplanes and less than a third of truck emissions, for example. So how do we account for the startlingly high emission figures in Europe?

Reducing in-port emissions

One key factor could be the time ships spend in ports with no onshore power supply for their auxiliary engines. Here, Ocean Insights data can help. The accurate “time of arrival” predictions that Ocean Insights supplies to its customers can shorten a containership’s stay in port by enabling faster loading/unloading and transshipment operations. What’s more? Ocean Insights is currently working on an “Emissions Insights” service that will combine container tracking data with vessel master data. This will enable ship owners or operators to know the ecological footprint of each of their vessels. Stay tuned to find out when this service will be available. We will keep you posted.

Source: Ocean Insights

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